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Tit-For-Tat

I will be the first to acknowledge that people—whether in cohesive groupings or not, and some of them even fundamentally good in nature—have done things that have inflicted various levels of harm on others on the basis of at least questionable, if not outright errant accusations and suppositions.

I’ll certainly agree that, most particularly the further back in time one travels, harm of various individuals was based on nothing more than an unreasonable bias against a given individual by another person or group thereof. And you can be assured that I’m not saying such things don’t happen today, as in the past, just that I think they’re less likely in the modern day than in the past.

Nor am I saying that when such things occur at all, they are somehow less problematic on the basis of number of occurrences. I’m saying only that I think we’ve gotten better at not allowing such things to happen.

That doesn’t mean we can cease to be vigilant—that we need not concern ourselves with such things occurring.

All that said, as with just about every scenario you will ever explore, it should be well noted that there are multiple facets to be looked at and considered when examining such occurrences.

To add to the complexity of this particular issue—as well as a good many other issues—there is more often than not (always?), a tendency for people to allow their emotions rather than facts to “rule the roost.” And sometimes, that can have unfortunate and extreme results. Obviously, the results can be more or less extreme, but doubtless, at times they can be quite serious.

One of the resultant outcomes of (most particularly rapid responses on the basis of) emotional rather than fact-based perspectives, has been referred to as “tit-for-tat” behavior. If you’re unfamiliar, the idea is that a person decides that a “reasonable response” to the actions of another “look like this.”

About this point, you may well be thinking, “That’s just normal social interaction.”

The reality is though, that as one ages, the hope is that he or she is much less likely to immediately, or in an uninformed manner, respond to those things that around him or her occur.

More and more, this appears to be less and less the case. Further, there seems to be a tendency for younger folks to fail to take the advice of those who are a bit more seasoned, and be measured in their responses to things.

Maybe it’s just that I have gotten a little older, and began to see better that such is the case. Maybe I’m correct, and we are “suffering a breakdown” of such ideas.

Whatever the case, to me, it appears that we have a major issue with what I would call knee-jerk tit-for-tat behavior. It seems to me that more people are willing to react to what they believe is happening as opposed to what they would actually find is happening if they were to step back and evaluate the situation dispassionately.

That’s not to say things are never as the first appear, just that I think probably more often than not, our biases (yes, we all have them) and leanings are likely to color our perspectives sufficiently to keep us from seeing what’s actually occurring.

Keep in mind too, that this means if we don’t recognize and often confront our biases and leanings, we are likely to never see the truth.

That means we must, from time to time, really evaluate what we believe and why we believe it. If we find that things we believe are baseless or of questionable merit, we must abandon them—even if emotion or passion tells us not to do so.

Even doing that, we cannot be assured of a fair assessment of a situation or circumstance, without taking the time to gather the data necessary to come to a correct and reasonable conclusion.

I will say that, the older one gets, the more likely it appears, that one’s instincts regarding a particular thing will be correct. In a sense though, that means we must be even more careful to evaluate and assess things related to various events an occurrences.

The fact is, even if it appears my instinctive assessment of something is spot on, except in rare circumstances, no more or less harm will occur if I take the time to evaluate surrounding facts and information to come to a more complete conclusion.

Of course, standing in traffic will likely get one killed! Put another way, there are some things upon which one probably ought to act with swiftness.

Barring that type of circumstance or situation though, one probably should consider withholding judgement until one has had enough time to review details after “calming down.”

Without passing judgement, it should—though I’ll say it in any case—not even need to be said that action as a result of all but things requiring more or less immediate response, should also remain “undone.”

I know there is a tendency in this current, fast-paced world, to expect things to be done with quickness and accuracy. I submit that in many instances, this is not how things will “work out.”

Put simply, things done in haste will often result in error and things done correctly, will often be a great deal more slowly accomplished.

I’m well aware that this runs contrary to a good many current “mantras.” Nonetheless, I find more and more, that it is true. At best people acting in haste will be “generally correct” at worst, they will do things that result in outright catastrophe.

The more serious the thing considered, by the way, the greater the chance of a seriously bad outcome if considered and acted upon in haste.

I know that a very few will take the time to even read my “admonishment,” and that even fewer will take it to heart. One ought not allow the fact that folks pay one mind, to keep one from doing what is good and correct, though.

Okay, so finally, if you are in the habit of reacting quickly and/or without anything like definitively complete data, I adjure you to cease! Stop! Think! Consider! Collect needed information, only then judge—much less act.

Well, I think I said that closer to my expected “word-count” than I thought I would’ve.

As usual, thanks for reading, and may your time be good and pleasant.

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